Some turntable manufacturers prefer to offer analogue components on an a la carte basis, but T+A takes the opposite tack, choosing instead to offer ready-to-play turntable/tonearm/cartridge combinations. Two good examples would be the relatively affordable 1260R package (€2,790 - €3,450, depending on configuration) or the higher-end G 102 S package (€6,790 - €7,990, depending on configuration). We think the plug’n’play T+A solution will appeal to those who prize analogue sound quality, but would prefer not to tinker with their turntables on a day-to-day basis.
The Swiss-made Thales TTT-Compact turntable (€10,000) and Simplicity tonearm (€7,000) combine a number of somewhat iconoclastic ideas in a deceptively simple-package. For starters the TTT-C is a battery-powered turntable that claims as benefits both excellent speed stability and ultra low-noise, while the Simplicity arm is—get this—a precision made, pivoting tangential tracking tonearm.
Working in collaboration with the same people who make the impressive Kronos turntable, Theriault produces what may now be one of the most sophisticated unipivot tonearms (~€9,000) on the market. The Kronos people, who are not easily impressed, were using the Theriault arm in their demo room and couldn’t say enough good things about the arm.
Theriault tonearm bearing detial
Representative of a trend toward massive construction and brawny good looks amongst top-tier German turntables are the three models shown by Tone Tools in Munich: the Square (€7,500), the Radius (€15,000), and the Radius XX (€25,000).
TW Acustic turntables have won considerable critical acclaim from our US-based sister publication The Absolute Sound and now the German firm has pulled out all the stops to create a new flagship model called the Black Night (€29,500). Somehow, the huge Black Night manages to look massive, purposeful, and elegant—all at the same time (kind of like a Rolls Royce).
van den Hul
For Munich 2013 van den Hul introduced both a new moving coil phono cartridge called the Crimson (~€4,100, or above) and a new balanced-output phono stage called the Grail SB (€13,000). Those who find the Grail SB a bit too rich for their blood may be gratified to learn that there is also an unbalanced version of the Grail, priced at a somewhat more manageable €6,000.
van den Hul Crimson cartridge
Well Tempered Labs
Well Tempered showed its complete range of turntable/tonearm packages, but arguably the most interest were the firm’s top two models: the Amadeus GTA MkII (€ 3,999) and the similarly priced Versalex. Though different in external appearance, the two are virtually identical underneath and both models sport a newly revised version of the firm’s unorthodox (but very effective) hydraulically damped LTD Symmetrix tonearm. The new version of the arm features a machined aluminium upper bearing section said to provide better pivot point placement than the original LTD arm afforded.
Well Tempered Lab Amadeus GTA MkII turntable with new LTD Symmetrix tonearm